Passion fruit

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  • The passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), which belongs to the family Passifloraceae, is a native of Brazil. In India, it is found to be growing wild in many parts of Western Ghat such as Nilgiris, Wynad, Kodaikanal, Shevroys, Coorg and Malabar as well as Himachal Pradesh and North Eastern States like Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.
  • The fruit is famous for its good flavour and aroma which helps not only in producing a high quality squash but also in flavouring several other products.
  • There are several varieties of Passion Fruit but the two main commercial types on the market today are the Purple Passion Fruit (Passiflora edulis) and Yellow Passion Fruit (edulis  flavicarpa).
  • The Passion Fruit pulp is rich in Vitamins A and C and its seeds which is edible are an excellent source of dietary fiber. The juice of passion fruit with its excellent flavour is quite delicious, nutritious and liked for its blending quality. To enhance the flavour of the passion fruit juice, it is often mixed with juices of pineapple, mango, ginger etc.
  • The leaf of passion fruit is used as a vegetable in the hills of North Eastern India. Boiled extract of fresh tender leaves is prescribed as a remedy for diabetes, hypertension, diarrhoea, dysentery, gastritis, abdominal flatulence and also as a liver tonic. They have a taut shiny skin when freshly picked, and their skin becomes shrivelled and wrinkled as they ripen.
  • The passion fruit can be cut in half and the pulp scooped out and eaten. The seeds are edible. It can also be strained through cheesecloth to remove the seeds. The pulp can also be added to yogurt.
  • The budgeted total Passion fruit levy project expenditure for R&D and Marketing is $238,922 with $157,922 allocated for R&D and $95,384 allocated for Marketing. The main investments will be $67,107 alongside the major priorities being overcoming passion fruit viruses for investment in 2012-13.
  • The main producing states in Australia are Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. In Queensland, the Wide Bay region is the major production region and is estimated to contribute 35% of national production alone.
  • Other Queensland production areas including far north Queensland (Mareeba, Daintree, Cooktown) and South east Queensland (Nambour and surrounds). In northern New South Wales the majority of production occurs in the Tweed Valley.
  • Data available through various industrial sources estimate that the industry has the potential to grow around 400,000 vines by 2025 with an annual farm gate value of up to $22 million. Most recent research on Passion fruit shows that only 27% of Australian consumers purchased passionfruit in the past 12 months. Furthermore, out of this segment, more than 60% of the volume is consumed by less than 28% of passionfruit consumers.
  • The average quantity purchased is most often between 3 to 5 fruits, while infrequent purchasers were more likely to pay less ($3.80) and buy fewer fruit per occasion compared to very frequent purchasers ($4.90).
  • An estimated amount of Rs.100600 is needed for the organic cultivation of passion fruit.
  • Below these are things should be kept in mind before growing Passion fruit. (i) Frost-free land facing north to east that is sheltered from the wind. (ii) Water supply and irrigation system to irrigate the crop over a period of 5 to 6 months. (iii) Good understanding of the diseases and pests which attack and defoliate the vines.
  • (iv) The correct equipment to spray the vines and a power or boom spray is satisfactory in young vines, however an air blast sprayer is required, when vines thicken up. (v) Commitment to maintain the vines. Without regular spraying, irrigation and fertilising the production and quality of fruit is substantially reduced. (vi) Supply of labour to maintain vines and to harvest and pack fruit.
  • The gross income for one year's production based on 15 tonnes per hectare, with 70% fresh market fruit at $2.00/kg and 30% processing fruit at 53 cents/kg would be $23 400, with annual variable costs totalling to the amount of $17 500.
  • Insect pests such as Queensland fruit fly, red scale, fruit spotting bug, passion fruit mite and mealy bug can all cause major problems resulting in leaf and stem damage and fruit rejection if not controlled.

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